Daily Archives: February 11, 2010

We Love February and One Last Vermont College Interview: Kim Justesen

Kim Justesen

Are you glad you sought this degree from this school? Why?

Getting this degree was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.  It instilled a confidence in my writing that had been lacking, and the mentorships I was able to experience helped me to discover what works best for me as a writer.

What was the best part of school for you?

Learning for critically-acclaimed writers who were so generous with their time and their wisdom.

How has it helped you?

I understand the structure of story on a much more profound level. I also have a much stronger belief in my writing than I had before.

If you have published since, or have a contract, would you have published without the benefit of going to school?

My first novel was a revision of my creative thesis for my degree. I also sold a nonfiction series of three books that I wouldn’t have been confident enough to even try before this program.

What was the hardest part of the degree?

The critical thesis: it was just a challenge to take elements of the work I had done, focus it into a solid concept, develop the research, and present it in this very precise format.  I’d actually really like to do this over because I understand more about what I’m doing now than I did then.

How has your life changed (not including debt or monies spent)?

I approach writing in a very different way.  It is my job – well, one of my jobs –  and I am more methodical in my approach, but also more thoughtful in how I approach my tasks.  I know my characters before I start telling their story because I do character studies.  I know the story before I write it because I create plot sketches. I create road maps before I begin the journey of my story.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to people interested in going to school at Vermont College?

Go in with an open mind and an open heart.  There is a wonderful energy that happens during those residencies, and just the memory of that can sustain you long after you’ve graduated.  If you are serious about finding your true writing identity, there isn’t a better place to do that.

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